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After diplomatic blitz, EU sees progress by June towards UN climate deal

After diplomatic blitz, EU sees progress by June towards UN climate deal
April 24, 2015
OSLO - The European Union expects that countries emitting more than half of world greenhouse gases will publish plans for fighting global warming by mid-year to help build a UN deal due in December, according to an EU document obtained by Reuters. The internal document, reviewing an EU diplomatic push involving 60 nations, also indicates the bloc will fall short of a goal of persuading all top emitters to detail their climate strategies beyond 2020 by June 30. The European Union, drawing on its army of diplomats, aims to ensure that big emitters are "sensitised to the political importance of submitting an ambitious contribution" as early as possible, it says. It wants to get the plans early to allow time to compare them and put pressure on laggards to do more before a summit in Paris in December, meant to agree emissions cuts to limit damaging effects of global warming such as heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels. Canada, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Chile, Morocco, Singapore, Armenia, Honduras, Georgia, Jordan and Senegal are among nations expected to submit plans by the end of June, according to the two-page summary prepared for EU officials and dated April 17. And China, the biggest emitter, confirmed it would submit its plan to the United Nations in June, it said. Other big emitters including India, Japan, Brazil, Australia and Indonesia were likely to wait. "India remains non-committed but suggests September," the EU overview said. So far, 35 countries including the 28-nation European Union, the United States and Russia have submitted climate plans to the United Nations, accounting for 30 percent of man-made emissions. The first, informal UN deadline was March 31. Nations listed by the EU document would lift the end-June total to 56-57 percent, with China alone accounting for 22 percent of world emissions, according to estimates by Frank Melum of Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. In January, the EU adopted a climate diplomacy plan to put "maximum pressure" on major economies to work on fast pledges. [ID:nL5N0VI0MF] The European Union plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Wendel Trio, director of environmental group Climate Action Network Europe, called the EU document good news for the Paris summit. "This clearly proves that all countries, both developed and developing ones, recognise that they need to join forces to prevent the climate crisis," he said. Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the UN Climate Change Secretariat, noted the United Nations plans to add up all submissions made by Oct. 1 to judge if they are enough to limit warming. - Reuters
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